DUMAGUETE CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday graced Negros Oriental’s 2017 Buglasan Festival, expressing hope that the event would create greater unity and cooperation.
“May this occasion foster solidarity and camaraderie as you take part in realizing the country’s potentials. Hand in hand, let us lay a new foundation upon which we will build a better nation,” the President said in his speech at the event held at the Lamberto Macias Sports and Cultural Center.
“Join us in achieving our vision for a more comfortable and productive life for every Filipino,” he said.
Buglasan Festival, also known as “The Festival of Festivals”, is one of the most awaited festivals in Negros Oriental. It is celebrated in Dumaguete City, the capital of the province, in the middle of October.
The week-long festival features different competitions, such as street dance and fireworks display. There are also nightly cultural shows, food festivals, and trade fairs.
The President also mentioned the ongoing fight in Marawi City, noting that government forces are winding up their operations.
“And I hope that this will end soon para we can move forward,” Duterte said, adding that troops are facing an uphill fight because of the presence of IEDs and snipers.
He, however, reiterated his promise to build a strong army and a strong police before he leaves office in 2022. He also gave the go-ahead for the Armed Forces to lease its assets and properties for the AFP to modernize.
Aside from buying new weapons and equipment, the President said the money to be generated could fund increments in salaries, as well as the social security of the soldiers.
He also thanked China and Russia for their arms donation to the Philippines.
The President, meanwhile, reiterated that the fight against illegal drugs will be solely handled by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“Now, kung kaya ng PDEA, well ‘yan ang gusto ninyo, to pinpoint the responsibility and anyway, the law says it’s the PDEA who would be the lead agency. O ‘di sige,” he said.
“But that is fraught with so many grave consequences. Pero it’s being appreciated by the pari, by the human rights,” he added. PND-northboundasia.com